Homemade corn tortillas have an amazing flavor that is quite unlike anything store-bought. If I had to explain it, I would say that they're just more...corny. (No pun intended.)
For this month's Foodbuzz 24x24 the challenge presented was to use only items that were already in our cabinets or fridge. Well, I bought this Maseca, masa harina (found in the Spanish section of my grocery store), a long time ago and I still had it hanging around. I don't keep tortillas on hand unless it's taco night so keeping a bag of corn flour handy is great.
These tortillas were used in two different preparations. They were rolled up with chicken and black beans in advance, refrigerated, then pulled out on the day of the dinner and baked, smothered in cheese and enchilada sauce. I have to say, they were absolutely delicious this way, and they kept overnight in the fridge perfectly.
The second preparation took the same beginning steps as the first - cooked on a skillet to make a corn tortilla. But then they were sliced into triangles and fried to make tortilla chips. At first, the chips were salty and crunchy bites, if not a little bit bulky. But after a few hours they began to get tough and chewy. The flavor after frying becomes much like that of a Frito...veryyy corny.
If you are brave enough to make these you should know a few things. 1. You don't need a tortilla press, rolling the dough between two plastic zip-loc bags works just fine. 2. Unless you have a large griddle, baking these off on a cast iron pan gets time consuming. 3. The only way to get them onto the griddle/pan in one smooth piece is to fling them with might from your hand screaming "bam!" as you do it.
The corn tortillas freeze well but will only keep in the fridge for a few days. If you're going to the trouble to make them, it is worth making a double or triple batch and freezing the leftovers. Also, I can't forget to talk about the salsa and con queso sauce! The salsa is a great alternative to fresh or jarred. The con queso is so cheesy and good! There were no leftovers when I served it, and surprisingly it was the easiest menu item to make.
Homemade Corn Tortillas
*Makes 12 tortillas
2 cups Maseca
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
In a large bowl, whisk together the Maseca and salt. Add in the warm water and mix until a dough forms, adding more water in teaspoons as needed.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Keep them covered so they don't dry out. Starting with one ball, form into a tortilla using a tortilla press with two pieces of plastic wrap (or plastic bags) on each side. Alternatively, you can place the dough between to plastic bags and roll out with a rolling pin.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Cook the tortilla for about 1 minute or until the lower surface becomes blistered. Flip over and cook on the other side until blistered. Keep warm in an ovenproof dish covered in a kitchen towel while you finish cooking the rest of the tortillas.
To make tortilla chips, heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees and add triangular slices of tortilla. Cook until golden brown and salt immediatly.
Recipe adapted from The Classic Mexican Kitchen by Jane Milton.
28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes
3 ounce can fire-roasted chiles
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
Drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Add the tomatoes, chiles, onion, garlic, and coriander to a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency, adding in the reserved tomato juice as needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
Salsa Con Queso
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa
In a medium saucepan, melt together the evaporated milk and cheddar cheese until smooth. Stir in the salsa. Serve.